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‘Apolitical farmers’ to now contest upcoming Punjab elections: Details

For the longest time, the protesting 'farmers' have claimed that their protests are 'apolitical'. However, the recent revelations show how they may have always had ulterior motives.

On July 6, Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni) president Gurnam Singh Charuni issued a statement in which he said that those who are involved in farmers’ protests against the three agriculture laws that were passed in September last year should context Assembly elections in Punjab. He added that it would present a model on how the system can be changed.

‘We should work on mission Punjab instead of mission UP’

Charuni said even if BJP gets defeated in Uttar Pradesh, there is no guarantee that the centre would be free to their demands. He claimed, “After seven months of agitation, multiple FIRs, and several deaths of farmers, we are still waiting for our demands to be fulfilled. Our next course of action is Mission UP. A Mahapanchayat has been called on September 5, after which we will campaign against BJP in Uttar Pradesh. We will defeat them in UP.”

He added, “However, are you sure that even if BJP is defeated in UP, the central government will listen to us? We defeated them in West Bengal, did that make any difference? Do not take me otherwise. O am not against defeating BJP. We must defeat BJP in UP. But will that make a difference? Even if we weed out BJP from India, will that make a difference?”

He said that the opposition has not clearly said that they would scrap these laws if they come to power or promised a law to guarantee MSP would be framed. “There is no guarantee that our demands will be fulfilled. If we check our history, even if we had defeated leaders who worked against the farmers, those who won did not do anything concrete for our benefit. What I want to say is that we should not go for Mission UP, but we should work for Mission Punjab.”

He further added, “We say that we want to change the system but don’t apply enough thought to what has to be done to realise this. If we have to change the system, then we will have to formulate a plan. And that plan should be ‘Mission Punjab’. So many bodies from Punjab are playing an active role in this agitation. But if they enter into the poll arena and contest polls in Punjab and capture the power and show how things can be changed, this can be presented as a sample, a model to show how a government can be run, which can act as an example for the rest of the country.”

BJP’s sharp reaction to political motives

Speaking to OpIndia, Ashwani Sharma, State President, BJP, said, “Everyone has right to contest elections. However, the real motive behind the protests is coming out. It seems they are more inclined towards their political motives rather than doing anything to benefit the farmers.” He further added they should contest the elections.

BJP leader Harjit Singh Grewal whose paddy farm was destroyed by the so-called protesting farmers said, “I have been saying it all along that his agitation is not in favour of the farmers. It is a politically motivated agitation. Contesting in elections is everyone’s right in a democracy. However, it is not right to use farmers and demean Prime Minister’s image for political benefits. It is not in favour of the farmers.” He said that the government is ready to discuss and amend the laws, but “they have stubbornly stuck on the demand of repealing the laws.”

Grewal further added, “These ‘farmer leaders’ want to stretch the agitation till 2024 to contest in Lok Sabha elections. They say they have defeated BJP in West Bengal; however, we have increased our vote share dramatically in the state. Our vote share has increased from 10% to 37%, and from three assembly seats in the last assembly elections, we have reached 77 seats this time. Now they are talking about Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, followed by contesting elections in Punjab. Slowly they will form a party and contest elections. Farmers must understand that these protests are not in their favour, and they are being used.

S. Sukhpal Singh Sran, Secretary, BJP, said, “First of all, we welcome them as it is everyone’s right to contest elections. Everyone can form a political party. However, their policy and intent must be clear. It should not be against the nation and society. They have stopped economic and social progress on the pretext of agitation. They have not been able to provide any concrete alternative to the three agriculture laws. Even renowned agriculture economist Sardara Singh Johal has supported the agriculture laws. He has been asking the farmers to provide alternate for laws if they do not like them.”

He further added the political motives of the union leaders have now been exposed. “They are not working for the benefit of the farmers. They are only concerned about their own political motives. The hunger to become a political leader has been exposed. The real intent has always been to contest elections.”

Farmer protests against the Agriculture laws

In September 2020, the government of India passed three agriculture laws to provide better infrastructure and options to sell produce to the farmers. However, a few unions started protesting against the laws. Since November 2020, these so-called protesters have been staying on the Delhi borders, causing a lot of damage to the economy. The agitations led to Republic Day riots daily on the pretext of the Tractor Rally. Over 300 police personnel were injured, and properties worth crores were damaged. It has been reported that Khalistanis and anti-India forces are using these agitations for their own agenda.

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Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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